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Statue at Duke Chapel Defaced

Statue defaced at Duke Chapel.
The defaced statue at Duke Chapel. Photo by William Snead/Duke Photography

A statue on the portal of Duke Chapel bearing the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been vandalized.

The damage to the face of the statue was discovered early Thursday. Duke officials are investigating, including a review of video from inside the chapel. Security has been increased around the chapel as well.

“Duke Chapel is a place of sanctuary and refuge that belongs to every member of the Duke community,” Duke President Vincent E. Price said in a statement. “Each of us deserves a voice in determining how to address the questions raised by the statues of Robert E. Lee and others, and confront the darker moments in our nation’s history.

“For an individual or group of individuals to take matters into their own hands and vandalize a house of worship undermines the right, protected in our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, of every Duke student and employee to participate fully in university life.  To that end, earlier this week I began consulting with students, faculty, alumni and others about the ways in which we can use this issue to teach, learn and heal. Together – and only together – we will determine an appropriate course of action informed by our collective values.”

The statue is one of 10 historical figures adorning the exterior of the chapel; the group includes significant figures from the American South and the Protestant and Methodist traditions.

High-resolution photo